Hugo Drayton, the managing director of Hollinger Telegraph New
Media, has taken over as the new chairman of the British Internet
Publishers' Alliance (BIPA) and submitted a complaint about the
promotion of BBC websites on the BBC.
Drayton replaces Rob Hersov as the BIPA chairman. Hersov, who is no
longer a UK publisher since the sale of Sportal, stepped down at the end
of the year.
Drayton is overseeing the BIPA's latest submission to the DCMS Select
Committee, which is focused on the lack of a transparent and effective
regulatory regime to govern the BBC's provision of services on the
BIPA claims this gap in regulation has led to considerable distortion of
the market and the crowding out of numerous potential suppliers.
BIPA's argument centres on the BBC's use of licence fee revenue to
promote its digital offerings.
The BBC has announced that it intends to allocate an annual promotional
budget of £20 million for its digital services.
In BIPA's submission to the Select Committee, it commented: "If even a
small proportion (of the £20 million) is devoted to the promotion
of BBC internet sites, it will massively outstrip the promotional
budgets of the BBC's many commercial competitors.
"It threatens to be a disproportionate and highly damaging use of public
money. It should be noted that this £20 million is additional to
the significant value of the BBC's self-promotional opportunities
through its existing broadcast media."